MKAIKA MMD member of parliament Peter Phiri says he cannot pay subscription fees to the party as demanded by the national secretary Elizabeth Chitika because there is nothing happening in the former ruling party.
And Phiri says it is impossible for MMD members of parliament to change their position on Constitution Amendment Bill Number 10 of 2019 by rejecting it under Nevers Mumba’s leadership when they supported it from inception under Felix Mutati’s faction.
In an interview, Phiri argued that MMD members of parliament were better off using funds meant for subscription to the party to develop structures in their constituencies because the secretariat was not conducting any activities that needed the money.
“We are still members of parliament for MMD and we cannot resign just because we are not paying subscription fees. We can’t just be resigning anyhow, and people should know that by-elections are costly. And allegations of us not wanting to work with Dr [Nevers] Mumba, what does she (Chitika) mean? Working in terms of what? They haven’t involved us in any party activity. At least for me, they have never invited me for any function that I have failed to attend. We haven’t been involved and we have never shunned away, there is nothing of that sort. So, I don’t know what she means by saying that we haven’t been working with the party,” Phiri said
“Then, about the subscription fees, that money we have been using it to run the party, but there is nothing that the secretariat is giving us to help us run the party in the constituencies, and the secretariat is not conducting any activities either. But we have officials at ward-level, we have district officials and we have officials in the provinces. So, whenever a meeting is called at the province, we send our people and that is money used for food and other things. So, that money they are asking us to pay to the secretariat is the money that we use for such things. That is the money we have been using to make sure that the party survives in the constituencies. So, for us, we are using the money to run the party in the constituency and we cannot send it to the secretariat.”
And when asked why the MMD members of parliament were adamant on supporting Bill 10 when Mumba was against the Bill, Phiri said the MPs had supported the Bill from its inception.
“How can we change our position on Bill 10 all of a sudden? We have been supporting that Bill from the start, so how can we change all of a sudden and how will people look at us? From the time Bill 10 was introduced to the House until that time when the Court ruled that Dr Mumba now is the president of MMD, we have been supporting Bill 10. So, we cannot change just all of a sudden, I don’t think that’s how things work. We started that process [of Bill 10] and we have always supported it, so we can’t just change our stance all of a sudden to say, ‘this time, we are not supporting when we have been from the very start.’ For us, we are people’s representatives and we have agreed with people in the constituency that we will support Bill 10,” said Phiri.